Scott Quigg strongly hinted he will retire from boxing after being outclassed by Jono Carroll, who delivered a career-best performance en route to an 11th-round stoppage at the Manchester Arena.
Quigg, the former WBA super-bantamweight champion, was looking to prove he remained at the elite level but the Bury fighter struggled with the superior movement and work-rate of his Irish opponent.
While Quigg never looked to be seriously hurt, he was wobbled on a couple of occasions and there was a sense he could have been pulled out before trainer Joe Gallagher eventually threw in the towel in the penultimate round.
The 31-year-old offered no excuses after being stopped for the first time in his 40-fight professional career before admitting he will in all likelihood bow out from the sport.
"He was the better man on the night," Quigg told Sky Sports. "After the fourth round, it didn't feel like it was there, I was just chasing it. But no excuses, the better man won and fair play to him.
"I'm a realist, I don't kid anyone. I believe at my peak, I would have won this, no problem, and that's taking nothing away from Jono. In my day I believe he wouldn't have lived with me.
"On this performance and how I felt, I don't know if there's much left, to be honest."